EyeTV video formats
September 11, 2006 11:29 AM   Subscribe

I have an elgato EyeTV EZ with an pretty new Intel Imac. I've been recording shows and saving them to an external hard drive. The problem is, each hour-long recording is 3 GB and I am running out of room. EyeTV will convert to another video format, but I don't know which I should convert to. I'm looking for the best combination of size and quality. I'd like it to be good enough that I will look ok on a 35' TV (when I buy an EyeHome or get a video airport). Any ideas? Here are my options:

MPEG Program Stream – The standard EyeTV format, creating a muxed MPEG
file (audio and video intermixed). Suitable for Toast.

MPEG Elementary Stream – Separate audio and video files, useful for importing
into other programs like DVD Studio Pro.

DV – Creates a DV file that can be used with iDVD, iMovie, Toast and other pro-

DV 16:9 – Creates a widescreen DV file that can be imported into iMovie HD,
Final Cut Pro or Express. Note that QuickTime 7 does not display the aspect
ratio correctly.

QuickTime Movie – Offers you full access to all possible QuickTime codecs, se-
lected from the Options... button.

MPEG-4 – Re-encodes into MPEG-4 using Apple’s MPEG-4 codec. Recom-
mended for converting to lower resolutions and for streaming applications.

H.264 – Re-encodes into MPEG-4 using Apple’s H.264 codec, offering high qual-
ity at lower bitrates.

3G – Re-encodes into MPEG-4 using Apple’s 3G codec. Recommended for play-
back on portable and handheld devices such as cell phones.

DivX AVI - This choice is available if you have downloaded the DivX plugin for
QuickTime. DivX is a popular variant of MPEG-4, with high quality and low stor-
age requirements.

AAC Audio - Creates an AAC audio file that can be used with iTunes and other

Apple Lossless Audio - Creates an Apple Lossless audio file that can be used
with iTunes and other programs.
posted by drewcopeland to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Check out Handbrake and/or MPEG Streamclip -- I use one or the other of these transcode clips to MPEG4. VLC plays these files fine.

Your mileage may vary, but I find that an MPEG4 with a 2000 kbps average bitrate, AAC audio 192kbps, 2 pass encoding is a good compromise between quality and file size.
posted by omnidrew at 11:37 AM on September 11, 2006

Use DIVX, MPEG-4 or H.264. Those are both going to produce smaller files, which are reasonably good quality. If you look for television online, it is usually in a DIVX format.
posted by chunking express at 11:37 AM on September 11, 2006

When considering codec, also think about how long you're going to be keeping what you record. eg If it's just to watch that week's episodes and then delete them, you can probably going to get by with trading faster compression speed for larger file size.
posted by nathan_teske at 11:57 AM on September 11, 2006

The spinal tap fan in me can't resist pointing out that a 35 foot screen sounds awesome!
posted by rampy at 2:02 PM on September 11, 2006

H.264 get better quality into less storage than anything else, AFAIK. The drawback is that it is slower to encode and requires somewhat more computing horsepower to decode smoothly. May not be supported on some kinds of video-playback hardware, though I'd expect that to change.
posted by adamrice at 3:52 PM on September 11, 2006

What's this 'Video Airport' of which you speak?
posted by michswiss at 4:07 PM on September 11, 2006

What's this 'Video Airport' of which you speak?

It's rumored that tomorrow Apple may unveil a new Airport that can stream video.
posted by defenestration at 5:52 PM on September 11, 2006

It's also been rumoured that Apple was going to introduce the "iPhone" or an iPod with a built in FM tuner for ages now.

Don't put much stock in the rumor sites. :P
posted by drstein at 7:48 PM on September 11, 2006

Looks like that video airport is soon to be a reality after all!
posted by adamrice at 11:54 AM on September 12, 2006

« Older How do I help our relationship thrive when my...   |   Am I At Risk For Identity Theft? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.